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Australia 1984
Directed by
Russell Mulcahy
95 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3 stars


Synopsis: A young girl living in the Australian outback is killed by a giant pig. Her grandfather is charged with the murder but there is no evidence to hold him. The case attracts the media attention and soon an anchorwoman is also slain by the beast. Her distraught husband arrives in town to find out what really happened to his spouse and is soon fighting for his life with the giant porcine terror.

How do you go from working with Elton John and Duran Duran to working with a giant flesh-eating pig? Easy! Just follow the career path taken by video clip sensation Russell Mulcahy. On top of the music industry after a succession of videos including Wild Boys and Rio, he chose Razorback to be his debut feature as a director.

Visually, Razorback is straight out of the MTV generation and none the worse for it. Leaps and bounds beyond anything normally sen in the horror genre, the film is stylized to the max, every shot is perfectly constructed. No matter what the subject matter, this style has become Mulcahy’s calling card and led the way to films like Highlander, Ricochet and Swimming Upstream. As is the case with much of his subsequent work, the visual styling is often more important to the director than plot and, in the case of Razorback, his actors. Somehow though, mainly due to the stunning design of Bob McCarron’s giant animatronic hog, Razorback is an effective and scary effort that holds its own with the other monster movies of the era.

The film was heavily censored before its theatrical release by the studio which is a shame. The film was a box office failure on its initial release but I’m sure that if the studio had backed Mulachy’s vision completely they would have had an at least minor hit on their hands. The deleted scenes which can be found on the Umbrella DVD, add a sense of dread and foreboding and show just how scary that hungry piece of pork really is. As it stands Razorback has gained a cult following. Aside from the big pig, much of the film’s success is due to its Aussie charm, especially the performances of Chris Heywood and David Argue as the Baker brothers.

Mulcahy does use every cliché in the book to generate tension but somehow he manages to carry Razorback beyond the midline of the genre and give us a prime cut of Aussie horror. As Wolf Creek amply confirmed, it’s obvious we should be having more nightmares about the Outback.

DVD Extras: The main extra is a fabulous full-length documentary entitled Jaws on Trotters featuring, it seems almost everyone involved with the film. You also get trailers, a stills gallery and a selection of gory out-takes.

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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